Today it was sunny and warm, bright and blue, but now it's night, and a cold front has begun to move in. The tops of the buildings we all saw today are gone, shrouded in stratus; their lights bursting through as far as they can carry. The clouds obscuring the skyline are steeped in process blue, sea greens, glassy reds, fluorescent whites, and carry upwards, staining the night sky the colors of a mossy, muddy backwoods stream.
Once colored light bleeds into a cloud, that cloud can carry elements of that color to well beyond the limits of the visible spectrum. Just because we can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there, isn't happening, isn't real. The clouds cover and the colors mix and everything blends together into stasis, the things that we can see, and that becomes our reality. Up until recently, the reality for Kip Uhlhorn was Ð and still is Ð as a guitarist in Brooklyn's loudest rock band and Vice/Atlantic recording artists Panthers, and before that, as frontman for Tennessee screamo outfit The Red Scare. Now, Tee Pee Records is presenting to the world his latest endeavor,Cloudland Canyon. New colors have been added, mixed in through the light, and what we see is something radically different from his other projects, something flourishing in new directions.
Spanning three years of studio work, Cloudland Canyon was born when Uhlhorn, touring Europe with Panthers in 2002, met up with German multi-instrumentalist Simon Wojan. Tapes were exchanged, and a handful of improv performances across the Atlantic forged a promising creative pairing, one that would take shape when Wojan made the trek to Brooklyn later that year. Through a week's worth of 12 hour days in the recording studio, armed with as many instruments and computers as they could find, the two assembled the basic tracks for Requiems der Natur 2002 Ð 2004: rattling, sprawling experiments that fused their musical discoveries, which take the shape of its container, then rapidly spill out and fill whatever size of space they're given. Within, strictures of German new age and electronic music of the Ô70s haze into field recordings mottled with analog burble and echoes of woodwinds. Shambling, modal organ ruminations detour browned-out meditation hang sesh. Blue-eyed drunken soul collapses upon swarms of meticulously composed synthesizers into a yellowed, rejoicing howl. Bulkheads of battleship-grey sound are dry-docked and meet the sun for the first time, then the solitude of night. Smoky Mountain fingerpicking rests for seemingly connected moments against an ever-changing backdrop of technology. Contributions by the Double's Jacob Morris, Turing Machine/the Juan MacLean drummer Jerry Fuchs, and Uhlhorn's wife, Kelly Winkler, fortified the sessions with further points of view. Then, the tapes were traded and processed even further by the musicians, until the resulting product, now in your hands, became complete.
Getting a bead on where the colors of sound that make up the nightfall shroud of Requiems der Natur 2002-2004 meet is difficult, but they are working from much the same influence as the musicians of This Heat, bravely challenging musical taboos in Cold Storage during the barren wilds of the mid-70s, the smearing of musical tropes in early Ash Ra Tempel, the heart of the work behind Mahavishnu's Birds of Fire, or the all-hands genre clash that resulted in the first Tortoise LP. Cloudland Canyon has made the kind of album you can get lost in, wander through, and pick out something new upon each listen, for those who find excitement in patience and understand the ultimate rewards of discovery, for those who keep looking at the night sky when the clouds roll in and definitions dissolve in halos of colored lights.